Reviews for Not Your Typical Dragon

Booklist Reviews 2013 February #1
Born into a family of fire-breathing dragons, Crispin has been looking forward to his seventh birthday. He expects to light the candles on his cake with his first flames, but whipped cream comes out instead. During a doctor's visit, Band-Aids shoot from Crispin's mouth. When he encounters Sir George, a nervous young knight sent out to slay a fire-breathing dragon, Crispin can manage only bubbles. It's the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Their fathers meet in a fiery confrontation, but Crispin saves the day and others recognize his special gift. Clearly expressing the characters' emotions through exaggeration, Bowers' colorful acrylic paintings capture the comic absurdity as well as the drama of the story. A Canadian writer and storyteller, Bar-el creates an entertaining and comforting tale aimed at children who long to be appreciated for what they can do, even if it's not exactly what their parents were expecting. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Dragon Crispin turns seven but instead of breathing fire, as expected, he breathes whipped cream...then Band-Aids, marshmallows, and more. The hackneyed plot, of a character who's different from his peers, ends predictably: after a heroic move, everyone understands that Crispin's abnormality makes him "special." Bowers's cartoonish acrylic illustrations feature wide-eyed, friendly looking dragons in an array of colors.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 January #1
Accepting people for who they are is the gentle message of Bar-el's latest, which readers may find reminiscent, if not duplicative, of the film How to Train Your Dragon. Crispin Blaze, scion of a long line of fire-breathing dragons, is on the cusp of his seventh birthday, when he will finally come into his fiery powers. But when asked to light his birthday candles, he breathes whipped cream instead. While his younger sister is pleased, his parents are not--they want him fixed. At the doctor's, he breathes Band-Aids; at fire-breathing practice, marshmallows (to go with all the flaming logs his friends have lit). Discouraged and unaccepted, Crispin runs away to a cave, where he meets a young knight who understands his plight and tries to help. But spicy foods fail to ignite Crispin's fire, as do thinking mean thoughts and relaxation techniques. Homesick by nightfall, Crispin is escorted back to his parents by Sir George--at which point, a showdown between their fathers might have had a very unhappy ending but for Crispin's splendid talent of breathing exactly what is needed. Bowers' acrylic dragons are delightfully nonscary, and readers will be able to tell their thoughts and feelings with ease; Crispin's dejected slouch as he runs away from home, toting a heavy suitcase, says it all, as do his befuddled expressions at his nonstandard eruptions. Share this with your favorite atypical kids. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #3

A young dragon who doesn't fit the mold still finds a way to save the day in this comically offbeat story about embracing individuality. Crispin Blaze can't wait to set alight the candles on his seventh birthday cake at the exact moment he's supposed to start breathing fire. When the moment of truth arrives, however, a torrent of whipped cream bursts from Crispin's mouth, much to the delight of his younger sister. Crispin's concerned parents take him to the doctor, but nothing helps, and Crispin runs away and finds a kindred spirit in a timid knight, who tries to coach the dragon. Readers will quickly realize that Crispin has a knack for breathing exactly what a situation calls for, whether it's bandages at the doctor's office, beach balls at the shore, or water when Crispin's father's fire-breathing gets out of control. Bowers's (Dream Big, Little Pig!) colorful bug-eyed dragons and Middle-Ages-meets-the-suburbs setting amplify the humor in Bar-el's (That One Spooky Night) prose, both of which make the message about embracing one's talents go down easy. Ages 3-up. Illustrator's agent: East West Literary Agency. (Feb.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 February

PreS-Gr 2--This tale breathes a whiff of didacticism into its sweet rumination on being different. On his seventh birthday, Crispin Blaze is supposed to breathe fire for the first time, but whipped cream comes out of the little dragon's mouth instead. At the doctor's office, Band-Aids emerge, and whenever Crispin tries to breathe fire, he fails. Afraid of disappointing his family, he runs away and he is befriended by a knight charged with fighting a fire-breathing dragon. When Crispin becomes homesick, the two are welcomed back by the youngster's parents, and Crispin soon gets an opportunity to save the day and be accepted. The humorous text moves along smoothly; expect kids to chime in with the line "but fire did not come out." Bowers's bug-eyed characters are appealing, expressive, and never scary, and the mix of spot art, single-page pictures, and spreads moves the story along effectively. The text emphasizes the positives of being unique, and the use of a dragon breathing a variety of odd and humorous things leavens the message. Not an essential purchase, but a pleasant addition.--Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT

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